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The Biggest, Brightest Star of Energy Efficiency

February 22, 2013 - 1:30pm


Learn more about daylighting with this Energy 101 video from the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE).

Has anyone else noticed that the sun is starting to stick around a little longer lately? Daylight Saving Time is scheduled for March 10th this year, but I’m already thinking about ways in which I can take advantage of the lingering natural light in my home that has felt missing for months.

We’ve talked before about the benefits of daylighting in your living space and how to maximize efficiency from windows in a new home if it is just being built. I’m lucky enough to have south facing windows in my apartment which seem to capture optimal amounts of sunlight during the winter and summer. Still, there is always room for improvement.

This week, the sun has waited until close to 6 p.m. to set, allowing a good hour of natural light for cooking, straightening up, and even squeezing in some reading time before everything turns to cold and dark (cue violin). But fear not, friends - soon we’ll have an extra two to three hours of sunlight after work and it will be important to get our living spaces situated to maximize energy efficiency gained from the natural light.

The thought of this is rather inspiring, isn’t it? The first thing I did was clean my windows. Already I’ve noticed more illumination in my room from dust and blemish-free glass. Next, I thought about moving my workspace to an area in the living room where the points of light were having the most impact. This way I can use the desk lamp and overhead lights much less during the evening. Suddenly, my inner interior designer kicked in and every piece of furniture became a prospect for gaining efficiency.

Moving my very large (and heavy) decorative mirror further south and a tad west in the apartment has proven a great method of capturing and spreading the remaining sunrays as our favorite large star sets in the west. I only wish I had the option to install a skylight, as that’s obviously a great way to ease the use of artificial lighting throughout the place.

Anyway, I’m sure these daylighting tips are already understood and implemented by most of you, but hopefully this message gets you excited about spring, Daylight Saving Time, and of course, energy efficiency!